The hummingbirds are back from their wintering down south, whizzing in blurs from tree to tree, searching for bird feeders filled with nectar. The tomato plants are actually producing fruit (it may make a difference that I am actually watering the plants rather than expecting them to thrive themselves). The bees are also abuzz in my backyard, wobbling over the trumpet flowers and the now sad-looking rose bush. Summer is here.
Ice cream has topped our dessert list already, even at the start of our summer season. Not that I wouldn’t want to eat it every day, but changing it up a little never hurts the menu. Seeing as I haven’t figured out how to make the cheesecake with pepper jelly and candied mint leaves from my first favorite foodie restaurant bacaro, I settled for this summery splash of flavor instead. I give you the honeyed goat cheese tart. The bees are happy they could help.
The taste was a wonderful balance of nuttiness, sweet, and tanginess. There was some “goaty” flavor on the first bite, then it reminded me of cheesecake but more smooth. Each component was well represented: the lime, the yogurt, the goat cheese, and the pistachios. The drizzle of honey brought out each flavor, too. This dessert would make a spectacular presentation on any summer table, rich like ice cream. Only a small slice is needed to enjoy all of the flavors — and to possibly push you over the edge to feeling full.
I doubted that my tart’s presentation would be even close to spectacular if my jerry-rigged tart pan didn’t work. Since I didn’t have a tart pan with a removable bottom, I turned to my baking supplies for ideas. I cut a thick, long strip of parchment (see photo above) to hang over the pan edges. I placed that in the pan first, then I lined the sides and the bottom with appropriately cut parchment pieces so every surface was covered. My plan was to lift the tart from the pan before serving. Carefully. Without breaking it.
The whole “parchment lift system” I engineered actually worked well, me demanding complete silence in the house and barely breathing while I moved the tart from pan to pretty plate. I expected the parchment tabs to be laughable substitutes for a proper removable bottom tart pan, fully expecting to take photos of a broken mess. But what luck that it worked. If you aren’t a risk-taker and want to play it safe, u
|honeyed goat cheese tart with a pistachio crust|
* What a pain to try to find UNsalted pistachios! I finally found them at Whole Foods.
** I did not have a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, so I jerry-rigged a 9-inch straight-edged round pan with parchment on the sides and bottom, as well as “pull tabs” (see photo and commentary above). I was convinced it wouldn’t work. The crust was thick enough, though, and after fully cooling it and refrigerating the filled tart, pulling it gently from the pan and placing it on my serving plate worked beautifully. Or maybe I was incredibly lucky!
*** This method didn’t work for me. The glass kept sticking to the dough so I ended up just using my hands. Make sure to push the crust up the sides of the pan to make the sides between 2-3 centimeters high. Otherwise, your filling may look a little tall. My filling relaxed a little once chilled, but I considered taking a few spoonfuls out of the filled crust because I thought it looked a little overstuffed.
**** I’ve also drizzled the honey on the tart without cooking the honey first. Less work and still very good. Do it just before serving, or the honey will soak into the tart and not look as pretty on presentation (even though it still will taste great).